Sound — 10
This album was probably Alien Ant Farm at their best. The band's drummer Mike Cosgrove plays great jazz-rock inspired rhythms to Terry Corso's guitar parts. I'd have to admit that Cosgrove, although he plays awesomely energetic original drum parts, reminds me sometimes of Limp Bizkit's John Otto. As for the guitar parts, Corso commonly plays riffs that revolve around a progression of harmonic intervals (a root note, and a fifth, fourth, or major or minor third). Add some fat distortion on top, and the parts become really bad-ass sounding! He and Tye Zamora, the bass player also write with jazz chords in mind as well, changing the sound of otherwise simple songs significantly. Tye also adds in some slap bass and natural harmonics from time to time.
Lyrics — 8
Dryden Mitchell sings well and even shouts some defiant lyrics in songs like "Wish", giving his voice some clout against his bandmates wall of noise. He does have some interstingly cool lyrics in "Stranded", "Summer", and "Whisper". Sometimes the lyrics come off as premature high school stuff, like "Sticks and Stones". Other times Dryden can come off as nonsensical, along the vein of some of Dave Grohls early Foo Fighters lyrics. Overall the vocal delivery is very good though.
Overall Impression — 10
I believe AAF carved a solid niche in the Alternative/Modern Rock scene as a result of the success from this album. The success was aided by the band's relationship with Papa Roach, who they met while touring on the California circuit. As for the songs: 01.Courage: good strong main riffs and vocals, enough said. 02.Movies: a good single, highlighted by good vocal harmony 03.Flesh & Bone: a great offbeat yet harmonic guitar riff, and it flows through the song to a awesome Chorus and Interlude part towards the end. 04.Whisper: dissonant sounding riffs with a good chorus, but lyrics are unusual and bitter towards their record execs? ok 05.Summer: a galloping main riff with some jazz chords and good lyrics, 06.Sticks and Stones: a Heavy riff, but the lyrics are very immature and take away from the heaviness. Drums are awesome in this one! 07.Attitude: a great single, has a fast slapback echo driven flurry of guitar notes in the main riff and some creative playing in the chorus. Drums and bass have a good beat too. 08.Stranded 09.Wish: one of the heavier songs, with Dryden growling vocals in some spots. Guitar, bass, and drums drive this song wickedly. 10.Calico: an interesting guitar riff with shifting intervals on several neighboring strings. I tabbed it out and it sounds cool! 11.Happy Death Day: dryden must really not like some ex of his to write the lyrics to this song. Yet, Terry comes off with a great Clean Guitar riff and nice bluesy soloing showing that he's no slouch when it comes to solos. 12.Smooth Criminal: the infamous Michael Jackson cover that propelled them to stardom. The beat and modified riffs they played make you want to dance, and it reinvents this song beautifully. 13.Universe: this song has an ominous sounding spooky riff and some nice strings in the background (might be a synthesizer). 14.Hidden Track - "orange appeal": also kinda spooky and goofy at the same time, yet its played with minimal guitar & bass effects. This is one of my favorite albums of all time, just from the clever riffs that Terry Corso and Tye Zamora wrote. I also have to admit that I'm a big fan of Cosgrove's drumming. If I lost the CD I'd definitely re-buy it!